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Dean’s Newsletter: Spring 2022

Dear Faculty, Staff, Students, and Friends of CSSH:

At the end of every academic year, we take joy in the accomplishments of the students, faculty, and staff who personify our Experiential Liberal Arts mission.

It was wonderful to celebrate the CSSH Classes of 2022 with families and friends at Matthews Arena. The words of our student speakers – Bryan Grady (Plus One, BS Political Science, MS Security and Resilience Studies), Zoe Young (MS Criminology and Criminal Justice), Brittany Mendez (BS Politics, Philosophy, and Economics), and Anna Moceyunas (BS Cultural Anthropology and International Affairs) – were a powerful reminder of the resilience and accomplishments of our graduating student body. We were inspired by the poetry reading from Wendy Zhen (BA History and English) and uplifted by the remarks of our 2022 Celebration Speaker, Ted Landsmark. Many thanks to the staff from throughout CSSH who supported the event. It was indeed a most auspicious occasion!

There is so much be proud of in the continued work and achievements of our community. For example, a trio of undergraduate students earned a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship. Maxcy Grasso (Politics, Philosophy and Economics ’22) graduates this spring with a degree in politics, philosophy and economics, and will be heading to Argentina to teach English in her father’s homeland. After completing her degree in political science (with an international affairs minor), Palomo Socorro (Political Science ’22) will travel to Palermo, Italy in September to study how the Mafia has influenced architecture in the city. Lilly Wilcox (English and Communication Studies ’22) will head to the Slovak Republic to teach English.

Please read more about our long list of student accomplishments in this issue’s Endnotes.


Our Accomplished Faculty

CSSH faculty also continue to win many important awards and honors. Once again, we have collected faculty accomplishments in one place, including published books, major articles, and fellowship, awards, and significant research grants. Our growing CSSH research includes interdisciplinary, community-partnered and student-involved efforts in digital health and humanities, the future of work, and social and racial justice.

For example, Julia Flanders, Elizabeth Maddok Dillon, Ellen Cushman, Nicole Aljoe and K.J. Rawson received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities for “Re-establishing and Sustaining a Working Ecology for Digital Humanities Scholarship.” Phil Brown won a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for “Multi-scalar, Multi-stakeholder Environmental Governance: The Case of PFAS.” Sari Altschuler and Christopher Parsons (along with co-PIs John Basl, Matthew Goodwin, Steve Intille, and Sara Carr) won a National Endowment for the Humanities award designed to build the “Humanities and the Digital Future of Health and Healthcare: A Curriculum.”

Four CSSH colleagues were awarded interdisciplinary sabbaticals. Jennie Stephens and Katherine Luongo will work with colleagues at the New College of the Humanities London, while Daniel Aldrich and Bill Miles will work on the Boston campus with colleagues in the College of Engineering and D’Amore-McKim School of Business respectively.

Our faculty have also created important frameworks for intellectual exchange both on campus and for the broader public.  The Asia America and the World Series led by Philip Thai and Holocaust and Genocide Awareness Week led by Simon Rabinovitch provided important insights, as did two panels organized by Mai’a Cross on the Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine and its implication for global politics. Mai’a Cross and Serena Parekh have also each provided important analysis on the crisis in a broad range of media from NBC Boston, to the Financial Review, to the New York Times.


The Power of Partnerships

Partnerships are important to our research and educational mission in the Experiential Liberal Arts. The Black Artists of Boston Project is a collaborative effort between a graduate class led by Ángel David Nieves and Doreen Lee and a group of community elders, who as artists have been working in and around Boston for over thirty years. Working with the Office of Community Eagement as they developed the new oral history and ethnography seminar, Nieves and Lee connected students with the Boston artists. Together, faculty, students, and the artists have made the course into a platform for honoring the contributions of eight multi-talented artists: De Ama Battle, Bruno Eddie, Ife Franklin, Napolean Jones Henderson, Jacqueline L. McRath, Dale Patterson, Susie Smith, and Valerie Stephens. The hope is that this pilot will lead to a series of projects on the contemporary Black arts movement and its legacies. Partnership has also been key to the capstone projects that students have collaborated on with partners in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, on topics from rezoning, to commuting behavior during the pandemic, to land conservation.

Partnership is also a primary operating mode for the Reckonings project, which recently kicked off with a $500,000 planning grant from the Mellon Foundation. The program, subtitled “A Local History Platform for the Community-Archivist,” seeks to empower BIPOC communities and citizens in the preservation, creation, and curation of community histories through collaborations between Northeastern scholars, students, and partner organizations. Co-Principal Investigators Kabria Baumgartner, Ángel David Nieves, Dan Cohen, and I are working with a team of students and community partners to correct gaps and inequalities in the existing historical record, and assist communities to recover under-represented histories and cultures.

Across the college, we seek to further partnership efforts supported by our new Director of Business Development, Darrell LeMar. As a relationship builder, Darrell brings to this role a wealth of experience in the public and non-profit sectors. His charge is to create an ecosystem for success in developing partnerships with non-profits, government agencies to corporations and communities. Each partnership may bring a different benefit to CSSH and the organization.


Congratulations to all of us in CSSH on a successful year. Many thanks for all the contributions you have made! To our graduates, best wishes on your future endeavors, and please stay in touch with your college!

With best wishes,

Uta Poiger
Dean, College of Social Sciences and Humanities

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